These robot costumes were loads of fun to make, and just the other day the boys told me they think they might have been their best costumes ever. When I worked at Martha Stewart Living I was constantly amazed at the ideas that various editor friends would come up with for costumes...I was particularly intrigued by the ones that were created from either supermarket or hardware store finds.
My friend Jodi created a masterpiece out of coffee filters (shown above left...that is her modeling the costume on the right) for a story on "no sew" costumes. Another year my friend Matthew did a story called "Space Odyssey 2001" which included an amazing styrofoam cup helmet (shown below). I tried to channel Jodi and Matthew when we took the boys to Lowe's to hunt for matierials to make their robot costumes. The boys were also very excited as they searched the aisles, throwing every shiny or battery powered item they could find into our cart.
When we went shopping for materials we had a vague plan but a lot evolved based on what we found. Originally we thought that the aluminum dryer vent tubing would work for both arms and legs and I must admit that when I see the boys' skinny little legs poking out of the oversized bodies they look a little imbalanced, but overall I was pleased with how the costumes turned out. Since the dryer vent tubing was too bulky and hard to walk in, not to mention difficult for the boys to get in and out of, we got them silver leggings from american apparel instead.
For our costumes we made body armor from insulation material. One of the things that was a little tricky to figure out was how to make the costumes so they could get in and out of them easily. The boys wanted to try them on and play with them a bit in the days leading up to halloween so I needed to be sure they were not designed for a single use. I found two things worked well: nuts and bolts, and adhesive velcro. You can see how I used the nuts and bots in the photos above...they added a cool industrial appearance to the pieces too. I just cut small holes or slits in the insulation and used flat metal disk washers on either side so that the bolts would not just slide through. I used nuts and bolts where mobility was crucial...for example on the mask we made goggles that attached to the helmut this way so they could get lowered or raised by the boys.
Having too many nuts to attach was labor intensive at dress up time so I used them sparingly and added adhesive velcro where additional fastening was needed (photos below). I also found very shiny silver tape that was perfect for any seams that did not have to open and close...it is a little hard to see in the photos because it blends to well with the insulation material. I cut wedge shaped pieces of the insulation and taped them together to make the A-line wrap around skirt shown below--it was my attempt to join in the families theme. The shiny tape also worked well to attach battery powered lights and paint color samples which finished the looks.
In keeping with the theme I had planned for Bea to be a little girl robot. When she saw her cousin Lila as a cat she freaked out and wanted to be a cat too. Luckily a pair of ears (sewn to a silver headband) and some whiskers seemed to do the trick. Adam also loves Halloween and gets into the whole costume thing...playing the part of the nerdy inventor was not such a stretch!